US-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer on Tuesday announced that it has begun testing an experimental coronavirus vaccine on humans. Working along with German drug maker BioNTech, the initial participants in the US have been dosed with BNT162 vaccine. Human trial of the experimental vaccine began last month in Germany.
In a statement, Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, said they are collaboratively working with regulatory authorities and partner BioNTech. They look forward to bringing a safe and efficacious vaccine. "The short, less than four-month time frame in which we've been able to move from preclinical studies to human testing, is extraordinary," he added.
Genetic material called messenger RNA (mRNA) has been included in the experimental vaccine. The mRNA is a genetic code that tells cells to produce antigen which may persuade immune response against the virus. The company expects to test around 360 adults in the age group of 18 to 55 in the experimental vaccine trial.
Vaccine tried on participants from New York and Maryland
Once testing on younger adults is conducted safely, older adults between the ages of 65 and 85 will be immunized with the vaccine. Participants from NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York and the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine have been dosed with the vaccine.
Pfizer is not the only company to test a potential COVID-19 vaccine on humans. The US government's National Institute of Health agency was the first to test humans in March. Scientists from Oxford University's Jenner Institute in the UK who also conducted an experimented human trial, claimed that a potential vaccine could be available by September. According to the World Health Organization, eight vaccine programs are in clinical trial phase and more than 100 have been running under the initial phase.
According to the Pfizer statement, BioNTech will supply the vaccine from mRNA manufacturing facilities in Europe during their clinical development stage in the US. Both the companies are working on increasing production for global supply. "Pfizer plans to activate its extensive manufacturing network and invest at risk in an effort to produce an approved COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible for those most in need around the world," the statement said.